Electrostatic Discharge, Electromagnetic Interference and Ground Loops

MarvinD's picture

Electrostatic Discharge

If your computer's motherboard dies, the repair technician may point to the A/V input wires and tell you electrostatic charges coming down those wires caused the failure. This could be true for equipment sold in the United States, but not for equipment sold in the European Union. Since 1995 all consumer equipment sold in the European Union has to pass stringent testing for both electrostatic and electromagnetic interference.

So, you are best off to demand your computer builder use only those components which will pass the tests required by the European Union.

Electromagnetic Interference

When you have multiple VCRs, distribution amplifiers, sound amplifiers and a whole rat's nest of wiring, you very well may get electromagnetic interference. This may present itself as a hum in the sound system, artifacts on your video screen, or numerous other annoyances. Using quality wiring cut to length with good wire separation will do much to alleviate the problem.

Ground Loops

If you have brought your wiring up to specs, swapped around equipment, and double checked everything including software, you could start thinking about ground loops. And, you may want to start thinking about calling in a professional. You can spend days trying to find a ground loop only to realize it was something else. You may find an explanation of ground loops here.

1. dbi Corporation - Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) tests check the behavior of products when exposed to discharges...
2. Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) in Europe
3. NoisKen - Electromagnetic Immunity Standards
4. The need for a universal EMC test
5. Ground loop problems and how to get rid of them